Postpartum OCD

Postpartum OCD

Postpartum OCD

Here in this post, we are providing the “Postpartum OCD”. You can discuss more your concerns about mental health in our community, and we will provide you with tips and solutions in a short time. Keep visiting Mental Health.

Overview

There are the following specific types of postpartum anxiety 

  1. Postpartum panic disorder 
  2. Postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Postpartum OCD
Postpartum OCD

Duration

Postpartum OCD isn’t very common. About 1 to 3 percent of childbearing women develop OCD. It usually starts within a week of delivery.

Symptoms

Their symptoms match those of their non-postpartum counterparts, though may relate more specifically to your role as a new parent.

  • Obsessions, also called intrusive thoughts, which are persistent, repetitive thoughts or mental images related to the baby. These thoughts are very upsetting and not something the woman has ever experienced before.
  • Compulsions, where the mom may do certain things over and over again to reduce her fears and obsessions. This may include things like needing to clean constantly, check things many times, count or reorder things.
  • A sense of horror about the obsessions
  • Fear of being left alone with the infant
  • Hyper-vigilance in protecting the infant
  • Moms with postpartum OCD know that their thoughts are bizarre and are very unlikely to ever act on them.

Causes

At this stage, it is unclear why the postpartum period is a time of increased risk for the onset of OCD for some women.

From a biological perspective, it has been speculated that profound changes in hormones such as estrogen may be partly responsible. Hormones can disrupt the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin. Disruptions of the serotonin system have been heavily implicated in the development of OCD.

From a psychosocial perspective, the arrival of a new baby presents a number of new challenges, which can be overwhelming for some women.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for postpartum OCD include a personal or family history of anxiety or OCD.

Examples

If you have postpartum OCD, you might engage in ritualistic behaviors related to those thoughts.

These are a few examples:

  • Repetitive organizing, cleaning
  • Obsessing over germs that may come in contact with your baby
  • Repeatedly checking on your baby during the night, even though you did so recently.
  • Mental compulsions, such as constantly praying for your baby’s safety.
  • Rituals such as counting or touching something a certain way, thinking it will prevent bad things from happening
  • Spending a lot of time researching your or your baby’s health
  • You may not be able to control these behaviors.

Consult with doctor 

If you have symptoms of postpartum OCD that don’t go away within a few weeks, see your doctor.

Treatment

Like postpartum depression, it is essential to treat the postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder as it can affect normal bonding between a mother and her baby. It can also cause substantial suffering and pain on the part of the mother and family members. If you have recently given birth and you are experiencing new psychological symptoms such as intrusive and disturbing thoughts or compulsive behaviors such as uncontrolled hand-washing, be sure to mention this to your primary care physician, obstetrician, pediatrician, or psychiatrist.

If you are experiencing these or other symptoms, your doctor will likely do a full assessment that includes a full psychiatric history, as well as medical tests to rule out biological causes for your symptoms such as hypothyroidism

Postpartum OCD can be treated with:

  • CBT
  • Antidepressant medication.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

CBT may be a good option for women with ​postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder as it eliminates the possibility of exposing the newborn to antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Although antidepressants like SSRIs are transferred through breast milk, there is no data on the long-term effects of exposure to SSRIs in breast milk, including the nervous system, so the benefit of taking the medication needs to outweigh the risk. Be sure to speak with your doctor to determine which treatment option is right for you.

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